Marines illegally detained, physically abused and murdered four people doing farm work in Puebla last year, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) said Thursday.
The CNDH said in a statement that it was told by the mother of one of the victims that her son was harvesting hay with three other people on a property in Tlahuapan on February 28 when marines traveling in three vehicles arrested them on the grounds that they were stealing fuel from a nearby Pemex pipeline.
The woman said local residents witnessed the marines undress the four victims and beat them while they were forced to lie on the ground.
The CNDH said that when the marines realized they were being watched they put their victims into the navy vehicles and left the property.
The next day the bodies of the four victims were found on a hill on Puebla’s northeastern border with the state of Tlaxcala.
The CNDH said it had confirmed that the marines detained the four people arbitrarily and illegally, and that they failed to complete the necessary paperwork detailing the arrest.
It said that navy personnel took the victims to a forested area near the Puebla-Tlaxcala border where they subjected them to more abuse before killing them.
The rights commission said it had informed Navy chief José Rafael Ojeda Durán of the “serious human rights violations” committed by the marines. It also said it had submitted a recommendation to the navy advising it to add the four victims’ names to the National Registry of Victims, to ensure compensation is paid to their families and to provide them psychological treatment.
In addition, the CNDH instructed the navy to cooperate with formal investigations into the murders and recommended that it provide human rights training to its personnel and equip them with body cameras.
The navy said Thursday it would comply with the commission’s recommendations. It has previously said that the marines involved in the alleged crimes were made available to prosecutors.
The military has been accused of human rights abuses including extrajudicial killings in the past but the navy is generally considered one of Mexico’s most trustworthy and cleanest institutions.
President López Obrador says that his government is putting an end to abuses committed by the military but in addition to the alleged murders perpetrated by the navy, the army is accused of carrying out multiple extrajudicial killings since he took office including at least one in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, in July.
Mexico News Daily